The Women's Network was founded in 2004 by the initiative of a group of
women that lost their jobs due to regional educational restructuring. The
activities of the Women's Network are directed towards improvement of issues
such women's rights, women's economic status, and the encouragement of a
greater and more active role in the society of Shirak province and beyond.
The Women's Network is currently
developing multiple initiatives focused on giving women of Shirak province the
necessary training and skills for a stronger role in all aspects of society.
Recent efforts include the development of administrative and organizational
skills for small business, public discussions on relevant issues affecting
women's daily lives, debates, and dialog opportunities with regional
authorities are all geared towards more active support of women's societal
The Women's Network is engaged not only in advocacy for women rights but
the struggle for positive change, impacting society through the improved
welfare of women throughout Shirak province.
The Women's Network directs its economic program activities towards
advocacy for independent businesswomen, the creation of employment programs for
women, questions of new labor laws and regulation, and assistance with home
industry development. Some of more important social initiatives of the Women's
Network include the struggle for rights of disabled women and improvement of
their social status, access to higher education opportunities for women of all
ages, and improved health standards. Through awareness campaigns the Women's
Network hopes to put an end to violence against women and encourage their
participation in elections and the political process.
STRUCTURE AND HISTORY
The activities of the Women's Network: Gyumri branch, are currently
managed by the Coordinator of Women's and Youth Matters, a member of ECS Board
of Directors. Membership of the Women's Network is open to the public but has
several layers of involvement: The founders (7 female community leaders from
schools and NGOs) are major participants in all areas. Members also include
other regional women's organizations, individuals, and other stakeholders who
are interesting in realizing programs directed toward the improvement of
women's status in society.
In November, 2005 the Women's Network:
Gyumri branch, held a series of trainings and seminars for unemployed women. 44
women were able to participate, gaining knowledge of starting and leading their
own businesses. At the present time the Women's Network is focused on
strengthening their role in democratic processes by helping women be
persistently involved in the dialog between the State, NGOs, and the business
sector. These efforts are very important, as the tradition of women's
participation in business, social, and political life of the country has not
solidified yet in Shirak province. The Women's Network has won respect, support
from local organizations, new partners, and
a strong level of interest from the public. From its founding the number
of clients has increased up to 48% percent, proving that the women of Shirak
province have started to understand their essential role in business, social,
and political life. The Women's Network helps them successfully influence local
and governmental bodies, as well as public opinion through its initiatives, and
will continue to do so into the future.